Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says in consultation with the Ministry of Education, they are considering re-opening the schools on 24th May 2021 but that judgement depends entirely on Fiji’s COVID situation at that time.
Doctor Fong says he wants parents and students to know that getting our children back in classrooms is an urgent priority for the Ministry.
He says until such time, parents must keep their children at home.
The Permanent Secretary stresses to parents not to bring their children for shopping and not to send them out with friends. He stresses that the children should stay at home.
Doctor Fong also says as they shift into the next phase of containment, they are prioritising non-school isolation facilities so that, once it’s safe, they are ready to resume classes.
He says there is a proven benefit to in-person learning, and every day we delay our student’s return to classes risks long-term harm to our human capital.
Doctor Fong says we contained last year’s outbreak of COVID-19 in 30 days.
It has been 15 days since the confirmation of the case that sparked the outbreak we face today, and he is worried that too many of us think this containment effort will play out on a relatively similar timeline.
He says he very much doubts that it will.
The Permanent Secretary says it could end soon and he hopes it does but the data is telling us a different story.
Doctor Fong says we are not up against an identical enemy this time around, the chains of transmission are more widespread and the variant is more transmissible.
He says the risks are greater, and our response must be more decisive.
He further reveals that his teams are ready for a containment strategy that lasts months, at a minimum.
Every Fijian must be ready as well and good habits such as mask-wearing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, proper handwashing, physical distancing, keeping careFIJI on, and limiting movement are not temporary or emergency measures.
He says they will be with us for the foreseeable future as the war against the virus is far from won.
Doctor Fong says they have to test many, many more Fijians in order to get a grip on the spread and stop it.
He says the case numbers may seem low next to the hundreds of thousands being recorded around the world every day but they won’t stay low if we do not act responsibly.
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